There are many over-the-counter (OTC) products available at pharmacies that can treat mild acne scarring. Benzoyl peroxide for acne is one such common remedy that is chea, easy to procure and effective in less severe acne outbreaks. It can fight bacteria; stop excess oil from building up and clogging pores.
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical product that is applied to the affected areas of the skin. It is a safer form of treatment than using oral or injected therapy. Most topical treatments for acne found at the drugstore contain either one of the following ingredients:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
How to use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne
Since benzoyl peroxide for acne is mostly available as a cream or lotion, it is applied directly to the affected area. The type of acne you have, must decide the product you choose. Hence, if you have whiteheads or blackheads, start with a pure benzoyl peroxide product and then if the outbreak increases, shift to a product that contains salicylic acid. If your acne is developing into inflammatory papules, then use benzoyl peroxide alone.
If you have bought an OTC product, you can check for instructions on usage. Otherwise your doctor will provide specific instructions on how often and how much of the product to use. Use benzoyl peroxide only on the skin. Do not put on eyes, mouth or nose. Wash your face with water if you use a cleanser containing benzoyl peroxide (Oscion Cleanser). The cleanser can be used at least twice a day.
Those who have fair skin must use this medicine for the first time at night. If you are using a lotion, gel or cream, make sure you wash or shave the area at least ½ hour before applying the medication. This will prevent skin irritation. Take the medicine on your fingertips and rub gently on affected areas. Wash your hands well with soap after use.
A facial mask that contains benzoyl peroxide is sometimes recommended for acne. If you are using this, first wash the acne-affected area with a mild non-medicated cleanser. Rinse the area and pat it dry. Apply the mask on the areas evenly with a circular motion. Let the mask dry for at least 15-25 minutes. Wash with warm water and gently pat dry.
Avoid all abrasive products that can irritate the skin like medicated cosmetics or soaps. Benzoyl peroxide for acne may take 4-6 weeks to display any effects. If there is still no improvement, you can consult your dermatologist.
Store benzoyl peroxide at room temperature or in the refrigerator – check the storage instructions on the label. Keep away from excess moisture and heat. Keep it out of reach of children and dispose off outdated medications.
Advantages of benzoyl peroxide for Acne
Benzoyl peroxide contains powerful antibacterial agents that kill the P.acnes bacteria. It is popular because it provides excellent results. It dries and peels skin, removes dead cells, clears blocked follicles, acts on pustules papules, blackheads and whiteheads.
There are many brands of benzoyl peroxide available – expensive and inexpensive. While there are different products that contain benzoyl peroxide for acne, the most effective are lotions, creams and pads. Soaps, washes and scrubs that contain benzoyl peroxide are less effective. Prescription benzoyl peroxide products are available. These provide the same effect as OTC products but cost more.
Possible Side effects of benzoyl peroxide
Some common side effects that you can experience include:
- Tingling, stinging, dry or peeling skin
- Warm feeling on the skin
Report to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Precautions while using Benzoyl peroxide for acne
Benzoyl peroxide must not be used if you have an allergic reaction to this medication. If you have allergies to anti-itch lotions or cinnamon, you need to inform your doctor before he gives you a prescription. Also inform your pharmacist or doctor about all medications you are taking including vitamin supplements.
Do not use benzoyl peroxide on children under 12 years of age without consulting a doctor. Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to start a family must inform their doctor before hand.
Make sure that you do not use benzoyl peroxide for acne on the same area as other skin products such as:
- Topical acne products containing sulfur, tretinoin, resorcinol or salicylic acid
- Hair removal products or permanent hair agents
- Products that induce photosensitivity
- Skin products that contain alcohol like shaving lotions or astringents
- Products that contain lime, spices, or abrasive cleansers, soaps or cosmetics
Combining benzoyl peroxide with any of these products can cause severe skin irritation.
Finally benzoyl peroxide could bleach colored fabrics and even hair. So, employ caution when using this product and you can enjoy its many benefits.